Author’s notes: This part follows directly after Part Twenty-Eight. Some of what goes on between Hellboy and the giant rat vaguely derives from Hellboy’s confrontations with various paranormal characters in Mike Mignola’s original Hellboy comics or in the Hellboy related short stories written by other authors. Many of these conflicts deal with him fulfilling his true destiny. Let me remind you of the ‘T’ (PG13) rating. Language is becoming more emphatic. It will become more violent and sexuality will be hinted at, but it will never become graphic.

Disclaimer: I should remind you that the main characters do not belong to me and have been borrowed from Mike Mignola and Guillermo del Toro. Even though Kate Corrigan does not appear in the film, she is not original to me and derives from the Mignola comics. My own original characters are mainly functional to the plot I’ve constructed. However, some have decided to take on a life of their own and may turn up in other of my Hellboy fics.

Chapter Five: Abe Sapien: Sibling Rivalry: Part Twenty-Nine

Abe could sense the tension between Hellboy and his demonic rat-like foe building to explosive levels by the second. He watched with foreboding as Hellboy pointed his huge gun directly at the rat’s head, which even more infuriatingly had a fedora hat stolen from Trevor Broom set upon it at a rakish angle.

“I don’t give a damn about a few clothes,” Hellboy said with a barely controlled fury, “but I want that lighter back. He may not smoke, but that was a Christmas present from me way back and he always kept it on display in his china cabinet. Give it back or you’ll be really sorry.”

The rat shrugged. “Big words, demon. But, you see, you have no power here. Go ahead; shoot me with your big gun or punch me out with your big fist. Let’s see how far that will get you.”

To Abe’s surprise, Hellboy lowered his gun and laughed heartily. “The hard way; it never fails that these goddamn monsters have to do it the hard way. ‘Why not do it the easy way and just let the girls go?’ That’s what I said before; but, oh no, you’ve still got to do it the hard way.”

Hellboy again raised his gun to the rat’s head. “You know, furball, this gun’s not just an ordinary gun. It’s called the Good Samaritan and I make the bullets myself. They’re filled with loads of special stuff that’s just right for wiping out creeps like you. You can’t say I didn’t give you a chance; but since you’re standing there and asking me to shoot you, I think I’ll oblige.”

This altercation was going on at an angle that Mindy could not witness, but she could hear everything that was going on. When the colossal explosion of Hellboy’s gun went off, she screamed and wished she could clap her bound hands over her ears.

Kate Corrigan had turned her head aside in order to avoid the gore flying from the no-longer intact head of her captor. Having seen Hellboy in action several times in the past, Kate, even though revolted by what she had to witness, was not as disturbed as poor Mindy.

“Why do they always have to do it the hard way?” Kate heard Hellboy mutter as he stooped to pick up the thankfully intact Zippo lighter. As he shoved it into a pocket of his coat, he gave her a small grin. “At least I can give this lighter back to Pop, but I’m afraid the suit and hat are a waste.”

Kate grinned back, “What took you so long, anyway, Hellboy? And who’s that cute fish-guy you brought with you? Seems like there’s been some changes at the Bureau since I went to Hungary.”

“Changes for the better, Katie; really a lot better,” Hellboy said as he ripped off the ropes binding her, “If it wasn’t for Abe, I don’t think I ever would’ve tracked you down. For a while it seemed like you guys just disappeared from the face of the Earth.”

Kate had been bound to that chair for so long her arms and legs were numb. After Hellboy untied her, he helped her stand and work some feeling back into her legs. He then gently smoothed back her dark-blond hair, “You’ve let your hair grow out again. Maybe this will help.” Reaching into an inside pocket of his coat, he drew out her now rather battered looking silver hair clasp.

“I’d help you with it,” he said, handing it to her, “but I never could figure out how it opened. It’s a little worse for wear, I’m afraid.”

She laughed, “I’m just glad to have it back, Hellboy. I thought it was gone for good.” Pulling her hair back, she expertly attached the clasp, which though slightly bent still worked. “I don’t have many gifts from you and hated the idea of losing it. I can’t believe you were lucky enough to find it.”

Hellboy gently touched his left hand to Kate’s cheek. “Lucky; that’s sure the right word. If it weren’t for that clasp, I don’t think we would have found you. As soon as I get you out of here, I’ll have to tell you the whole big, strange story.”

Hellboy wanted nothing more than to take Kate into his arms and kiss her right then and there, but he was concerned about Mindy Carlton. They both could hear her sobbing hysterically.

Kate leaned up and lightly kissed Hellboy’s cheek, “Go ahead and check on Mindy. I’ll still be here when you get back.”

With great reluctance, Hellboy turned away from her and found Abe kneeling next to Mindy. He had unbound her and was trying to calm her down.

Mindy looked up when Hellboy knelt next to Abe and touched her shoulder. “Hey, kid, sorry about the noise and the mess. In a way it’s really my fault all this happened. Katie’s kind’ve gotten used to this crap by now, but I’m really sorry you had to get dragged into it.”

Mindy bravely struggled to collect herself. She finally managed to give Hellboy a little smile; he didn’t seem half so frightening to her as he had seemed when he busted through the door.

Kate had started walking around the chamber to get more circulation back into her legs. She was careful to avoid the carcass of her former captor, but couldn’t help looking at it from time to time. While Hellboy was still talking with Mindy, Kate saw something that made her look at it more closely.

“Um, Hellboy,” she called out, running toward him, “There’s something weird going on here and I don’t think you’re going to like it.” Hellboy stood up and swung around toward Kate, not believing what he was seeing.

The headless body of the giant rat that he had just obliterated had stood back up on its hind legs. With amazing speed the fragments of its head floated into the air and coalesced—eventually settling back down on the rat’s neck. On the floor, the bits and pieces of Trevor Broom’s stolen fedora hat were knitting themselves back together.

“What the hell,” Hellboy groaned, reaching for his gun again, “Why won’t the damn thing stay dead?”

“I warned you it would not be so easy for you, demon,” said the rat, bending and retrieving the hat, which it again placed at a rakish angle on its newly restored head. With a flick of a hand-like forepaw, it summoned the Indian head Zippo lighter from the pocket Hellboy had placed it in. Taking a hold of the lighter, the rat relit the cigarette it again held in a fancy holder.

Hellboy, who had tried to snatch the lighter as it floated out of his pocket, moved toward his reconstituted foe. “Goddamn it,” he shouted, “give me back that lighter and get the hell out of here before I rip you to pieces with my bare hands!”

The rat merely snickered and returned the lighter to a pocket of its stolen dark-brown wool vest.

Realizing that attempting to shoot again would be fruitless, Hellboy launched himself headlong at his irritating antagonist. However, at the moment he tried this, he abruptly found himself unable to move or even breathe. Upon seeing this, Abe rushed forward and shot the demonic creature. The projectile launched from his harpoon gun drove into its chest with a most satisfying squelch.

The rat dropped the cigarette it had been smoking and stared in amazement at the thin metal arrow now protruding from its chest. Reaching up, it grasped the shaft.

“I would not do that, if I were you,” Abe stated matter-of-factly, “If you try to pull it out, the barbs on the shaft will merely rip your chest to shreds.”

As Abe was speaking, Hellboy found himself able to move again; but he could do nothing more than feebly sink to the floor. Feeling as if he had been deprived of air for a very long time, he was unable to do anything except lie on the floor where he had fallen.

The rat calmly looked up from its contemplation of the metal shaft impaling it; rather than appearing to be in pain, it looked amused. “Aggressive for a fish, aren’t you?”

With an audible grunt, the rat yanked the shaft from its chest. The barbs ripped through its pelt and tore large rents into the white shirt and brown wool vest. A pool of its blood puddled up on the floor.

With an arcane gesture, the rat banished the mess from the floor. At the same time, its wounds were completely healed and the rents in the clothing vanished. Abe’s harpoon gun dropped to the floor as he found himself frozen, as Hellboy had been earlier. Kate and Mindy rushed toward the smashed door to the chamber, but encountered an invisible barrier blocking them from leaving.

The rat turned to Hellboy, who was still lying helpless. “As King David once said, ‘How the mighty have fallen, and the weapons of war perished!’ The Second Book of Samuel can be quite expressive, don’t you think?”

Nudging Hellboy with a hind paw, the rat turned away again. “Get up from the floor. You disgust me. As strong as you are, you could be so much more than you are allowing yourself to be.”

Hellboy found himself just barely able to stand again. “So, I disgust you; big deal. I don’t care one single damn bit what you think of me.” He shook himself, feeling almost as if he had been tied up for a long time like Kate and Mindy. “Look, you’ve proven you’re stronger than me; I’ll admit that. You’ve pretty much got me where you want me; so why don’t you just let the rest of them go?”

Looking over at Kate and Mindy, who were now huddled next to the still paralyzed fish-man, the rat shook its head. “I’m not planning on making it that easy for you, demon. However, I do think I will make things easier for myself. This need to constantly defend my physical manifestation against attack grows tiresome. You may choose one of these women and I will allow that one to depart with your so-called ‘brother’, that aggressive fish-man. You and the other woman will stay with me until I decide what I want to do with you.”

Hellboy struggled against the rat’s mysterious control. It glared at him. “Stop that; like I said earlier, you have no power here. Make a decision, or I will just kill them.”

Even though unable to move, Abe could follow everything that was going on. He attempted to read Hellboy’s mind, but found the thoughts he encountered to be strangely ambiguous.

He saw Hellboy’s shoulders sag in defeat. “Can’t I think about it first?”

The rat smiled, “Certainly; I’m in no particular hurry.”

Finding he could walk again, Hellboy moved to Kate’s side and gently wrapped his huge right hand around her waist. Cupping her chin in his left hand, he looked into her face for a long, slow moment; then drew her up into the most desperately passionate kiss she had ever experienced.

Mindy turned her face away, tears starting to form. It was apparent to her that Hellboy was going to choose Kate. After all, why would he choose a virtual stranger over a woman he so clearly loved?

“Excuse me,” the rat finally interjected, “your manner of ‘thinking’ is very touching, but has lasted quite long enough. Obviously, you have made a decision.”

Taking a deep breath, Hellboy turned back toward the rat. “Yeah, I’ve decided; let Abe take Mindy.”

More to come…

Scripture quote above is from the New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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